By Deb Everts

Anyone who loves a great cocktail made from the finest spirits and liqueurs should stop in at The Banq Cocktails & Lounge on Washington Street.

Owners Dina DiPasquale and her husband, James Czora, opened their new establishment in the former M&T Bank building Christmas week. What makes their place unique starts with the space itself because, until a few years ago, it was a bank dating back to 1890. 

Czora, who has been in this industry for 17 years, said they have the original safety deposit box safe that will be utilized as a whiskey club in the upcoming months. He said the bank vault will be utilized as a whiskey locker where alcohol aficionados can own a safety deposit box to keep their special spirit in the safest place possible. And the keys to the box will be owned by only the patron the bartender. 

DiPasquale said decorating is her side-hustle, and her design skills have made the transformation from bank to lounge is amazing. She has created an atmosphere similar to an old speakeasy with the walls and ceiling painted a vibrant forest green, gold globe hanging lights and heavy drapes at the windows. To accent the rooms, she has decorated with vintage thrift finds from the area.

DiPasquale said she is “an entrepreneurial at heart” and she’s always thinking about her next idea. She has experience in several restaurant-type businesses including Lola’s cocktail lounge that was located in the former Ellicottville Inn across the street. Her current businesses include her namesakes, Dina’s restaurant, down the street; Dina’s at the Mont, at HoliMont ski resort; T-Bar with a Twist across the street; and now, The Banq.

“I wanted to create a space that was different than any other place in town,” she said. “Couches, velvet chairs and ‘moody walls’ — the timing was perfect to be inspired by the Roaring 20s.”

The Banq offers craft cocktails and small plates. Inspired by the space, they wanted to bring back touches of the bank within its décor and design choices.

Czora said their cocktail program is diverse and they have something for everyone. All the syrups used in the cocktails are house-made. The drinks are hand-chosen, pre-prohibition style cocktails with their own twist. Three special bourbons come from the legendary Buffalo Trace Distillery.

“We squeeze juices every shift for all of our drinks and make as much as we can from scratch,” he said. “It’s one of the things that makes our cocktail program special.”

The cocktail lounge is also available for private events including weddings, corporate parties and birthday parties. Czora said they host events all the time and make every event special for the parties involved.

The Banq is located at 9 Washington St. and is open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.